Harrassment claims Garda officer arrested for alleged coercive control of ex-partner
“The alleged activities that this individual was involved in are at the higher end of the scale in relation to this type of crime,” a senior source has said.
June 09 2021 12:30 PM
A serving garda is being questioned today at a west Dublin station after his arrest this morning for the alleged coercive control of his former partner.
Detectives from the gardaí’s National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI) arrested the Dublin-based officer who is aged in his late 30s in the capital this morning.
“The alleged activities that this individual was involved in are at the higher end of the scale in relation to this type of crime,” a senior source told Independent.ie.
“His activities are alleged to have happened over a sustained period of time and the victim in this case has been left extremely traumatised.
“There was a huge amount of harassment involved,” the source added.
Throughout the pandemic, gardaí have repeatedly stated that victims of domestic abuse, including coercive control, are exempt from travel restrictions imposed during lockdown.
Since last year, specialised Protective Services Bureaus have also been established in every garda divison to deal which such crimes.
Each bureau has detectives specifically trained to investigate with crimes of a sexual nature or incidents of domestic violence.
They are also trained to investigate crimes involving vulnerable victims and children.
Coercive control was made an offence in 2018 and makes it a crime to engage in behaviour that is controlling or coercive or has a serious effect on a relevant person.
It is understood that specialist officers from the NBCI were drafted in to deal with this case because the suspect is a serving garda.
It is understood that more than 70 coercive control cases are being investigated by gardai across the country.
Separately, yesterday at Galway Circuit Court, a 49-year-old man pleaded guilty to knowingly and persistently engaging in behaviour that was controlling or coercive on a date unknown between June 24 and August 13 last year at an unknown location, which had a serious effect on a woman who is or was his spouse, and the behaviour was such that a reasonable person would consider it likely to have a serious effect on a relevant person, contrary to Section 39 (1) and (3) of the Domestic Violence Act, 2018.
The court heard that Derry native Paul Harkin waged a “regime of fear and terror” against his now former wife, telling their nine-year-old daughter at one point that chopping up her mammy would be “as easy as chopping a tomato”, before telling her and her seven-year-old brother on another occasion how he would dismember their mammy’s body and put it in a box if she didn’t behave and do as she was told.
In April, gardai in the Midlands arrested a man on suspicion of long-running campaign of coercive control against his partner.
The man was arrested after the victim made a complaint to gardaí about the serious offences.
The nature of the allegations range from physical assault to extremely serious sexual offences.
It’s understood the abuse went on for a period of over two years at a single location.
A file on that case has been sent to the DPP.
Last year Dublin man Daniel Kane (53), of Waterville Terrace in Blanchardstown, became one of the first people convicted under the new law.
During a 20-month relationship Kane repeatedly attacked the woman, including burning her foot, cutting her with a pizza slicer, head-butting her in the face while she was recovering from nasal surgery and stamping on her arm causing her multiple fractures.
On another occasion he stamped on her head and strangled her, leaving fingermarks along her throat. After being charged with these attacks, Kane threatened to send explicit images of the victim to her family if she did not withdraw the charges.
He was jailed for 10-and-a-half years in January.
Coercive control is when a current or ex-partner knowingly and persistently engages in behaviour that is controlling or intimidating and is having a serious effect on a person.
The victim may fear that violence will be used against them, or they may be suffering serious alarm or distress that has a substantial impact on their day-to-day activities.